Thum Ping Tjin

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Thum.
Thum Ping Tjin
Dr Thum Ping Tjin, Asia Research Institute, NUS, Singapore, 2013.jpg
Dr Thum Ping Tjin delivering a lecture, "Merger, Acquisition, or Takeover? The Enduring Consequences of Operation Coldstore in Singapore" at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore, on 17 September 2013
Born 17 December 1979
Nationality Singapore Singaporean
Other names PJ Thum
Alma mater University of Oxford, Harvard University
Organization Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Thum Ping Tjin (born 17 December 1979), better known as PJ, is the first Singaporean to swim the English Channel. He is also the first Oxford University graduate student to do so. He was a member of the Singapore national swimming team and has represented Singapore at every level, including the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He is a Rhodes Scholar and Commonwealth Scholar.


PJ was born on 17 December 1979 in Singapore. he received his early education at five of the Anglo-Chinese Schools. At the age of 16, he went to Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard in the year 2000 with a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies. Thum has participated in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta as a member of the Singapore national swimming team. That same year, he was awarded the Sportsboy of the Year award by the Singapore Sports Council. As a Rhodes Scholar he attended Hertford College at the University of Oxford, reading for a second bachelor's degree in Modern History and Politics. At both institutions he was an integral part of the swimming program. He was Captain of the Oxford University Swimming Team and earned two Blues.

Thum retired in 2002 from representing his country but continued to represent the University of Oxford. His younger brother, Thum Bingming, is also a member of the Singapore national swimming team, as well as a Member of the Cornell University Men's Varsity swim team.

In early 2005, PJ was a teacher at Anglo-Chinese School (International) in Singapore. This makes him the only person to have been a student or teacher at every single Anglo-Chinese School.

PJ later returned to Oxford on a Commonwealth Scholarship, where he completed a DPhil in Modern History at Hertford College. From 2006 to 2007, he was also a Frewin Warden at Brasenose College.

PJ is currently one of the leaders of Project Southeast Asia, an initiative of the University of Oxford to expand its range of scholarly expertise on Southeast Asia.[1]

Channel Swim[edit]

In July 2004, PJ decided to swim the channel after successfully participating in the 2004 Cross-Channel Varsity Match. PJ was trying to swim in August 2005, and he trained in Singapore throughout the year leading up to the event. In June 2005, he left for the United Kingdom to train further. PJ plunged into the cold waters of the Channel on 6 August, a few days later than expected due to stormy conditions, as the weather looked calm. Things changed three hours later, the weather became worse but still PJ did not give up and continued. He successfully reached the coast of France after 12 hours and 24 minutes - the first Singaporean to do so, and the first Oxford graduate as well.[2]

On 3 August, the Methodist Schools Foundation organised an event called the COMCurrent Swim. Students and staff from the Methodist schools and the church swam at Farrer Park Swimming Pool in support of PJ.

After his swim, PJ returned to Singapore to great accolades and then returned to Oxford to continue his studies.


  1. ^ Project Southeast Asia brochure Project Southeast Asia, University of Oxford, 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  2. ^ Singaporean to attempt English Channel swim.

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